Astros 13, White Sox 3: Lucas Giolito nosedives after five

The Astros notched the first 10-run inning of the season in the sixth inning tonight, so it’s not quite accurate to say that tonight was the Most White Sox Loss of the year, at least in the sense that it’s representative of so many defeats.

It’s more fair to say that tonight had the most White Sox things going wrong, and they all coalesced to deliver a loss that would’ve been a fitting ALDS Game 5, if that series was cursed enough to be a best-of-seven.

An inventory:

Lucas Giolito getting rough up early and late: Here were Giolito’s numbers each time through the order entering tonight starts:

  • First PA: .291/.378/.544
  • Second PA: .192/.264/.295
  • Third PA: .370/.392/.761

And here’s how he fared each time through:

  • First PA: 3-for-8, 2 HR, 1 BB, 1 K
  • Second PA: 1-for-8, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 GDP
  • Third PA: 3-for-5, 1 2B, 1 BB, 1 HBP, 1 K

These splits also align with a nosedive around the 75-pitch mark, and that’s when Yordan Alvarez singled home Alex Bregman as the second of five consecutive batters to reach opening the sixth inning, which were the last five batters Giolito faced. All of them came around to score, and that only comprised half the damage.

Tony La Russa pulling Giolito batters too late: Giolito posted zeroes in the third, fourth and fifth innings, so it’s understandable that the White Sox didn’t have anybody warming opening the sixth. But it took a few batters before the bullpen started stirring, and even though a review of a pitch that was showed to be an HBP bought the White Sox time to catch up, Giolito still stayed in for one more batter, giving up a single.

It just didn’t matter because Matt Foster gave up a grand slam, the first of three Houston homers during the inning. Alvarez took him deep after Alex Bregman’s second walk of the inning, and then Kyle Tucker greeted Tanner Banks with a back-to-back shot.

The offense short-circuiting…: After Giolito fell behind 3-0 after two, the White Sox were able to tie it up in the third thanks to some lefty-mashing. Seby Zavala opened the inning with a double down the line, Danny Mendick singled him to third, and AJ Pollock pounded the first pitch he saw into the Houston bullpen behind the wall in right center, knotting the game at 3. And that was it.

… in part because of a bad send: The White Sox already had one baserunning mistake in the fourth inning when Josh Harrison misread Leury García’s grounder to the left side. Harrison made up for it by surviving a rundown long enough for García to reach second, so at least he ensured the Sox lost no ground.

Seby Zavala followed with a liner to left, and with two outs, Joe McEwing’s auto-send took over. He waved home García as soon as the ball cleared the shortstop, even though Zavala hit it 98 mph, and every left fielder at Minute Maid Park plays shallow due to the Crawford Boxes. Alvarez fielded the ball cleanly, fired a ball 93 mph on the fly, and García was doomed by 20 feet.

The White Sox now have the league lead in runners lost at home with 11, and while a 50-50 call is always defensible with two outs, McEwing has had a number of no-chance sends as well. This one hurt, especially since Mendick and Pollock had quality at-bats against Valdez the inning before.

Somebody got hurt: This time it was Yoán Moncada, who came up hobbling after a routine groundout to short in the second inning. He stayed in the game through the second, but Harrison replaced him afterward. The forecast is unclear.

Bullet points:

*Banks was at least able to finish the seventh and eighth by himself, which spared the rest of the bullpen.

*Zavala went 2-for-3, with both hits against a lefty. He destroyed southpaws at Charlotte, so this might be the way he carries himself on the right 26-man roster.

*Andrew Vaughn was charged with an error when his attempt to get Bregman at third bounced past Harrison at third and into the dugout, which gave Bregman the final 90 feet. It was an OK throw, but Harrison stayed on the bag as Bregman came in hoping for a play, and couldn’t field the hop as Bregman knocked him over.

*Giolito’s ERA ballooned to 4.78.

Record: 30-32 | Box score | Statcast

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Jim Margalus
Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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Shingos Cheeseburgers

The more games the White Sox play the more remarkable game three last year becomes

itaita

Its too bad the team had to play Houston of all teams after the Tigers series. This current version of the Astros always kick the Sox ass so im expecting a sweep.

chipporter

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Last edited 5 months ago by chipporter
chipporter

That’s 2 on Harrison tonight, the baserunning, rule #1, grounders go through, and then receiving AV’s throw. Rule #2, get the ball. Harrison doesn’t play by any rules and it hurts the team everytime.

Super Joe has been coaching by braille at 3rd.

Trooper Galactus

If he were coaching by braille it would mean he were actually reading something in front of him and not just waving his arms for the hell of it.

chipporter

Point taken! HAHA

shaggy65

Forcing baseball players to run to first base is an inherently dangerous play and needs to be eliminated from the game!

Trooper Galactus

It’s been rare, but every time I’ve seen somebody comment about a player lollygagging on the bases it makes me laugh because every attempt at all-out effort by this team seems to result in trauma.

Trooper Galactus

Did Moncada actually get hurt, or was he never really healthy to begin with? Poor guy looked like he’d been playing at half strength even in Charlotte.

jhomeslice

The Sox are 12th in the AL in runs, 12th in ERA, 12th in run differential. They have scored or prevented more runs than only 3 teams out of 15. There probably are not 11 AL teams better than the Sox, but there are probably 6 or 7 – and the distance between them and the top teams like the Astros and Yankees is a chasm. They are a better team than they’ve played, but this team is still a mess.

They have the worst manager ever, with basically below MLB level players at multiple positions, 2b being the worst. Worst defense in the league, worst injury rate. Plus their biggest weakness, completely inadequate hitting vs RHP. They are never going to have much chance to win a playoff series until they address that.  They need to sell, or at least not buy, in July. To any team willing to pay his full salary, I would deal Yoan in a heartbeat. He is due 41M the next two years, and might not prove to be worth 1/2 that.  They need to make some intelligent changes, starting with manager. They are going nowhere with this many holes, oft injured players, defensive weaknesses, and complete and total managerial incompetency.

Trooper Galactus

I keep seeing these plans to trade some broken husk of a core player before he gets to expensive with no explanation of exactly who is supposed to be interested in buying much less what they’d offer in return that would be of any benefit in the near term other than potentially salary relief. Moncada just looks utterly broken right now and has not come close to his 2019 production. Jimenez has never stayed healthy to get his career on track, and hasn’t even looked good on the rare occasions we’ve seen him. Seriously, who wants these guys when they’re making well into eight figures a season?

Then comes problem two: how do you replace even the theoretical/hoped for production of these players? Jake Burger? Guy arguably shouldn’t even be playing third and his bat is hardly a proven commodity. Bringing in another player? Look at the guy charged with that task and tell me you think the situation will get anything but worse.

It sucks, but I think the only way out of this next season is not only for them to strike free agent gold with the Abreu/Keuchel/Harrison/Velasquez money, but for these guys to perform to something approaching their potential. Maybe they could trade one or two of their more expensive relievers to shift some money around, but I think they’re pretty well stuck relying on unreliable players.

I don’t know if changes to the training and conditioning staff will do any good, but when every hamstring on the team is turning into ground beef before our very eyes year after year, I’m willing to give it a shot.

jhomeslice

You make good points. I would not expect them to be able to find a taker for Moncada’s salary, even for nothing in return. I’m just making the point that he is likely to be an albatross contract the next 2 years. Probably not a lot they can do but hope for improvement. I would listen to offers for anybody excluding Kopech, Robert, Cease, and Vaughn. So not another rebuild, but a re-tool within their current window.

They need to let Abreu go, I think you’re right there. Much as I like Abreu, hitting vs RHP isn’t his strength either. He could hit an age related wall like Keuchel and Grandal as well. If they move Vaughn to 1b and sign an outfielder who hits righties very well and can field, it improves their defense (by getting Vaughn out of the outfield, even if Vaughn doesn’t wind up as good a 1b as Abreu), as well as RHP hitting issue. That’s better than ignoring their OF defense and issues vs RHP for another year. They have basically zero chance at a playoff series win against a really good team unless they get better against righties. They’ve done almost nothing to improve the past two offseasons, it should be little surprise that the results are the same.

I thought they fired the conditioning coach this winter. I guess it hasn’t worked out and they need to do it again. But they may just have some guys prone to injury. They could bring back Herm Schneider, and I don’t think that’s going to help Moncada, Engel, or Eloy much.

This team is so poorly run at the top that it just doesn’t bode well. They’re stuck with a manager who has cost them a few games already. They aren’t good enough to have that kind of disadvantage. I’ve distanced myself from following them, there seems to be little reason to change that.

chipporter

I would disagree, but only slightly, and swap Abreu and Cease on your lists. I think Abreu can bring a lot to a club with young talent, more than just his stats. On the other hand, Cease may be at peak value. I think there’s a great chance that his airhead gets exposed and he’s Jose Quintana with a porn mustache and no inward composure for tough situations.

Cease at this point, could possibly restock the shelves with a number of really high ceiling prospects, with the right trade partner.

And, it’s pretty apparent we have no need of a closer, so once Hendricks is healthy, sayonara.

Last edited 5 months ago by chipporter
jhomeslice

I don’t disagree that Abreu can still hit, but with our cheapass owner, signing him would undoubtedly mean sacrificing some other need. They need a legit MLB 2b, as well as to improve their defense and hitting against RHP. Abreu does not help those needs, and keeps Vaughn in the outfield. Until they improve significantly vs RHP, this team has a very scant hope of ever winning a playoff series, certainly not past the first round. They can’t keep the same roster that has had obvious problems for 3 years and hope for better results.

I don’t disagree that Cease might be a good sell high candidate, but only if they got a ton in return. I also think he might wind up being a pretty darn good pitcher for a while, he’s not bad as it is.

Agree totally they might as well trade Liam and/or Graveman, dumping their salaries and getting some good value in return. And Kelly, who big surprise hasn’t pitched enough to be worth close to what they idiotically paid him coming off an injury. Trade, get some prospects, and they can always sign a couple relievers in the offseason.

upnorthsox

How about Moncada for Cody Bellinger, or is Bellinger done? I could see Bellinger putting together a walk year season ala Bryant. It gives you a year of a RFer and to see if Colas is the real deal. Not sure what to do about Eloy, I feel like he’d be a fit for the A’s and I’d certainly consider taking Shea Langeliers or Sean Murphy for him. I just can’t see Hahn pulling the trigger on anything, he has got to go.

jhomeslice

Bellinger seems toasted to me. Sub .700 OPS for 2nd straight year, in that lineup? He’s the kind of player the Sox might wind up with in free agency in a couple years, knowing Hahn and company. Because of course he would be massively cheaper than guys who have actually played well in recent years.

We’ll see what they do. Hahn did make the Quintana and Eaton trades after all. He seems to be better at trading for prospects than major league ready players.

ChiSoxND12

They did fire the S&T coach (Allen Thomas) this past winter (and also should have drafted his son Alek).

Herm retired 4 years ago and became “trainer emeritus”, which might mean something in another org but with the White Sox I doubt it. He’s also 70, so I doubt he has any interest in coming back.

metasox

I believe Moncada is owed even more than that including an option buyout

Root Cause

I said it last week to trade Hendricks to fill some gaps with Tony letting him sit.

Better to have led and lost than to never have led at all.

As Cirensica

Another player getting a leg injury while running to first. This can’t be normal. In all my years following this team and baseball in general this has no precedent.

One thing games like this one vs the Astros is that Hahn might be able to build a team that can make it to a post season, but this is a team clearly inferior when compare to other good teams.

The Astros went into a rebuilt phase with several tanking years, then, cheating or not, went out a produce this juggernaut of a team that consistently wins year after year, and they ain’t stopping. That’s a model Hahn should emulate but I am afraid he just does not have the talent to run a baseball organization the same way the Astros run theirs.

metasox

Sox leg condition is like they are playing all their games on turf. Maybe look at the field to see if it is too hard.

As Cirensica

I suggested that a few days ago, but I think it is tied to poor physical conditioning.

metasox

Probably. It doesn’t seem possible for it to be the field. But Anderson and Moncada next to each other makes me wonder

Shingos Cheeseburgers

You know the fan base has fully turned on the org if they’re questioning the abilities of team icon Roger Bossard

Greg Nix

It’s quite possible for icons to lose their touch! (See: Cooper, Don)

chipporter

Not possible, overwhelmingly likely. Every coach has a shelf life, hockey proves that. Eventually the message gets stale and they lose buy in.

670WMAQtheElder

From top to bottom the Sox are just a mediocre baseball club. Why? Because loyalty matters more than professional ability. Toe the line and you’ll be fine.

Augusto Barojas

I’m guessing we are going to see a lot of paper bag guy for the next 5 games. And then probably a miraculous surge of wins and unjustified optimism after they beat up on the O’s.

peanutsNcrackerjack

Wait two more years then sign Michael Brantley. That will show ’em.

chipporter

Or they’ll sign Byron Buxton.

MrStealYoBase

Didn’t watch last night. Not planning on watching this weekend. I don’t see any potential enjoyment coming from this series.

GrinnellSteve

When the offense looked dead on arrival after 2, I watched the last 2 episodes of Peaky Blinders. I made the right call.

I’m ready for the teardown to begin. I’d start with Abreu and Pollack on expiring contracts. I’d see what Giolito and Hendriks could fetch. If it’s enough, I’d pull the trigger. I’d float Moncada and Eloy, but the return would probably be so lousy that I’d be forced to hold them.

The training staff should be gone. Maybe it’s not their fault, but you have to give the illusion of doing something. The coaching staff needs some serious revamping. Ditto the front office.

I know, I know. Why trust Hahn to pull off these moves? I don’t, but I also don’t want to wait for that day 7 years from now when he’s no longer the GM to finally start clearing out this roster.

Yes, the ’64 Cardinals were under .500 on July 4th and won the World Series. Yes, the 1914 Braves were 14 under and in last place on July 14 and won the pennant by 10-1/2 games and swept the World Series. Yes, last year’s Braves and 2019’s Nationals. If Moncada, Jimenez, Grandal, Giolito, and on and on all become the players they’re capable of… And if I sprout wings out of my bunghole, I can fly to Florence.

For those of you who have trouble reading between the lines, I’m disgusted.

Nellie Fox

Sox are looking the same as last year, beat up on the central teams and are not even competing with every other team. Sure injuries are hurting but this team is average at best without the injuries.